As part of the High Street Area Strategy, City Property and Glasgow City Council have been trialling a Meanwhile Use initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to show that there are innovative ways to bring vacant units into use and to animate the area. Most meanwhile use tenants on the High Street and Saltmarket are from the creative communities, so they bring a distinct offer to the area. For instance, some of the tenants were involved in the “2020 Vision” event held in December. This event saw shopfronts illuminated in 3D designs and helped improve the vibrancy of the area. It is hoped that more events like this will take place, with the local community, artists and businesses working in partnership to rejuvenate the area.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, the vast majority of tenants who took part in the initiative are keen to stay within the spaces and transfer to full commercial leases on stepped rental terms. This shows that if we change and reimagine our approach to vacant units, we can create locations that are commercially sustainable whilst help increase demand in the area. In addition, it also enables us to have creative, imaginative individuals at the heart of our communities, which can only help improve the vitality of our neighbourhoods.
Given the success of this trial it will be interesting to see how meantime use might be extended to other areas and how this might be achieved.